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Vaccination in Jamaica

After spending over a year in a global pandemic, Jamaica now has access to life saving Covid – 19 Vaccines. We must play our part in the continuous health of our nation and get Vaccinated as soon as we can.

People often have questions as it relates to vaccines and why they should take them.

Here are some Vax Facts

See the list below to find out which vaccination site is closest to you and make your appointment today

M.A. Hinchcliffe | COVID-19: Reshaping The Future Of Business Management And Operation

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2020 | 12:13 AM

Source: The Gleaner Company (Media)Limited

Whenever there is a hot issue, pundits come out of the woodwork, so I am taking licence to join the ranks. However, I am coming from the position of a business owner and a manager who is at the centre of the COVID-19 pandemic, experiencing the impact on business management and operation.

I am also declaring that never in my lifetime as a health management specialist have I witnessed healthcare driving economic activities. Yes, this is the reality brought on by COVID-19, causing the nature of business to be changing before our eyes.

The health sector, long low-keyed, has shown that with support, it can stand proudly among the best systems in both developed and developing countries. This I could have told anyone who would listen, because, coming from my experience when I was the health development officer at CARICOM, and attending international health conferences, Jamaica was viewed as the leader in all aspects of healthcare – in public health, maternal and child health/food and nutrition, primary healthcare, and the environment.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the health status of the country will be the driver for economic recovery.

Another matter for consideration is verification of the extent of workers’ COVID-19 status – the extent of infection spread among the workforce and the implication for the workplace. Here the matter of testing comes into play. Who will be responsible to get timely results? This should be on the agenda for the business recovery task force to come up with a strategic plan for health service to include testing, tracing, quarantine, isolation and treatment.


The pre-pandemic phase of COVID-19 recorded economic growth, though pale; the stock market robust; unemployment trending down; tourism robust; education steady; agriculture and mining in the mix; and other indicators of economic activity were showing that we were inching up to achieving aspects of the 2030 plan for Jamaica to become a place to live, work, do business, and raise family. The health system was dealing with dengue, which appeared to have been coming under control. It is against this background that the COVID-19 pandemic came up on us. The workforce was not on the radar, except statements that it is a valuable asset.


I am not going to join the naysayers on the outcome of the Government’s approach on the measures to control the spread of the virus, and the effect on business. While there are lessons to be learned, there is no place to beat up on oneself, as we have to do what we have to do to sustain the gains of controlling COVID-19 as the background against which to view business in this pandemic phase. What is obvious is that health got in the driver’s seat, and businesses followed. This historic occurrence brought new respect to a health sector which, from time immemorial, got no respect.

The business response saw a mix of actions, some pushed by fear and anxiety, while others had concern for the health and well-being of their clients and staff. Others took steps to preserve the life of their company and, hence, the bottom line. During this time technology rules, particularly for education and training and some services, and the development of ICT gadgets and paraphernalia.

The entrepreneurial instincts also kicked in as the need for people, process and products loomed. The need for PPEs, especially mask, sent sewing machines buzzing. COVID-19 impacts on the economy became the buzzwords, sending economists, financial analysts and business titans tripping over themselves to see who could land the best argument on the impact of COVID-19 on the respective sectors which underpin the economy.

Those of us who own and/or operate businesses had to respond to the periodic edicts, e.g., whether full or partial lockdown, curfews or restriction on personhood, including for the aged and infirmed. Freak out is an understatement when the lockdown of the parish of St Catherine was effected. The underpinnings of business, regardless of sector, came into full view in the form of shuttered business in the parish, with its long arm into jurisdictions throughout the country, either their headquarters or branch operations, or consumers for the goods and services.

Against this background, calls got louder and louder for a national approach to business recovery, hence ‘task force’ became the buzzword to give effect to the call. The Government obliged with the appointment of a multisector task force. While there are gaps in the representation of sectors and subsectors, I am of the view that when the work programme gets under way, there will be room to co-opt representatives to make presentations. In the meantime, I am putting my two cents on some elements for consideration for business post the pandemic. A strategic plan for healthcare, against which business recovery will be measured. What must be avoided is opening and closing business if COVID-19 is not on a sustained path for control. Thoughtful guidelines and action items must be in place to deal with flare-ups of the spread of the infection and to safeguard the health of workers, particularly where they operate in clusters, such as BPOs and manufacturing establishments.


I posit that business recovery must, of necessity, be sector-specific after determining that each took a hit of varying proportion. It is widely touted that we will be faced with a new normal which is yet difficult to determine. However, in this scenario, it is important that we must be clear-eyed about the plans for recovery based on credible data showing the different levels of impact. The common thread running through businesses, regardless of size, is the business plan and related strategic action items. Therefore, my starting point is not a top-down approach, but an internal self-study of the business status with the start of COVID-19, where the business is during the height of the spread of the infection, the path it was on, and the damage it has caused. Analysis of the study result will inform the way forward.


Occupational health will be integral to business recovery, as the health of the business will rest on the health of the workforce and will initially be informed by the state of COVID-19 control, which may very well be among us due to the many unknowns about the behaviour of the virus. It means, therefore, that health will still be front and centre.

If a health unit or first-aid station is not already in place, it is time to add a new position to HR, which I will call a ‘health monitoring aide’. The duties must be informed by the COVID-19 workforce guidelines stated above for implementation. The duties can be expanded to include participating in employee-assistance programme, monitoring cleaning and sanitation, among others. This is one area of job creation brought on by COVID-19.

Restructuring for business recovery during and post COVID-19 will also lead to the need for reskilling and upskilling workers who will otherwise be terminated or furloughed. New business opportunities are likely to emerge from the crisis which will drive education and training to be nimble in producing a ready workforce. The projected economic fallout will be taken into consideration by the task force, but it cannot be an all gloom-and-doom outlook. What will make the mare run will be creativity and innovation. Every sector will have its own take, and since I cannot be even a fly on the wall during the task force’s deliberations, I have confidence that the members will put egos and testosterone aside and come up with a cohesive strategic plan for business recovery.

M.A. Hinchcliffe is the CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group. Email: ceo@manpowerja.com

Audrey Hinchcliffe | Holistic recovery from COVID-19

Contributed Photo

Published: Tuesday | May 12, 2020 | 12:11 AMAudrey Hinchcliffe/Guest Columnist

THE TAGLINE ‘We are in this together’ aptly portrays economic recovery in the presence of the coronavirus. The challenge for the Economic Recovery Task Force will be finding the balance, as the economy and the virus will have to learn to coexist, at least for a while. There will need to be reliance on science to inform healthcare which will, in turn, inform the economy. This three-legged stool will serve to inform the work of the task force and its subcommittees.

I was tempted to create a four-legged stool by adding politics as the other leg, but with an ounce of caution, I veered away from this as it dawned on me that this is no time to include anything decisive, as focus is needed on the subtopic – finding the balance. We are aware that scientists are still grappling with the behaviour of the virus, its origin, how it is spread, how to control and, eventually, eradicate it. The scramble is on to find a cure, with reports of potions, pills and vaccines being explored. Mythic cures abound while the spread of the disease – COVID-19 – and rising death toll continue to emerge. This is the background against which economic recovery is being pursued.

My unsolicited position is that any talk of economic recovery has to be pegged to human resource; recalling that businesses have said in the past, and it still holds true, that human resource is their greatest asset. This asset goes out the door at the end of each shift, with no guarantee of its return the next day. COVID-19 is now dictating that this asset must be protected if businesses want to reopen, grow and thrive. I am now being bold to state that the business of health is through human resource, which is grounded in occupational health and safety, while health, as a business, is grounded in the economy in the form of products, goods and services.


The talk of business recovery is taking place in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The policies on mitigation and control may be seeing some results, but uncertainty looms as preparation is being pursued for business recovery. In this scenario, I direct attention to the business of health (and wellness), which is the production of healthcare and the determinants of what will work. Here I am limiting my views to dealing with COVID-19. Realising that we have to find a balance between operating business and living with the virus – I now submit that the balance at the workplace has to be supported by a strong occupational health programme guided by enforceable policy initiatives for the following:

• Social distance/Physical distance;

• Compulsory testing with quick results;

• Contact tracing;

• Isolation and quarantine;

• Treatment – symptoms;

• Mental and spiritual support,

Against this background, occupational health services, where it now exists, must be shored up for this responsibility under the direction and collaboration with the public health system. Where there is no programme, companies must move expeditiously to put one in place. This must be backed up by staffing and training. Monitoring the workplace for compliance with COVID-19 prevention measures will come from both external and internal processes.

New staff positions may emerge, hence positively enhancing job creation. Immediately, I foresee a health monitoring aide with duties that include taking temperature; enforcing the wearing of PPEs; social and physical distancing; cleaning and sanitising; assisting with employee assistance, among other activities, for infection control, such as hand hygiene and mask discipline.

There should be internal policy and procedure for if and when a worker gets sick, and the external linkage for care. An occupational health programme will throw up questions, such as the role of health insurance, and medical care. These questions should go into the mix of issues for discussion by the business recovery task force, as these cut across all business sectors.

In this regard, consultations on human resource, health and safety need to be the subject of a task force subcommittee. I can just hear the outcry about the cost and available resources, but we can’t have it any other way – if the human resource is the greatest asset, healthcare is the companion asset. There is no choice in the quest for business recovery. Business must open safely; on the other hand, health as a business will be in demand, ranging from medical care, pharmaceutical (licit and illicit substances), testing devices (kits), medical devices, PPEs, transportation, accommodation, nutrition, counselling, training, technology, and many other items for care, cure and comfort during illness. COVID-19 has dictated its own products and services.

So, as part of business-recovery initiatives, health as a business has a place in the deliberations, as existing businesses will attract support for reopening, whether for organisational restructuring, rightsizing, and new goods and services.

During business recovery, the virus will remain as infectious and deadly as it is now. If control measures are not monitored, and policy changes not made, it will be easy to have to return to lockdowns and curfews. The interest of economic recovery will drive the behaviour of business, regardless of sector; hence, finding the balance is an imperative for the business recovery task force.

Audrey Hinchcliffe is the CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group. Send feedback to ceo@manpowerja.com or columns@gleanerjm.com.

Source: The Gleaner Company Media Limited

Audrey Hinchcliffe | COVID-19 – A Dictator On The Loose

Photo By Gladstone Taylor : A cart operator is all geared up against the COVID-19 coronavirus. Jamaicans out in public and in the workplace are donning protective gear as the virus spreads.
I LIKE to put forward definitions to reduce the confusion with words assaulting our sensibilities daily from near and far, and to put into context what we are faced with. Currently, despite local and international efforts in the face of COVID-19, for mitigation and control, it continues to be defiant, so more and more we hear of ‘quarantine’ and ‘isolation’, which, at times, sounds like one and the same. Hence, information becomes misleading, if not overwhelming and confusing, in the way we talk about epidemic and the pandemic – and words matter.

For clarity, I reverted to Wikipedia and I quote, “a quarantine is a restriction on the movement of people and goods which is intended to prevent the spread of disease or pest.” It continues, “It is often used in connection to disease and illness, preventing the movement of those who may have been exposed to a communicable disease, but do not have a confirmed medical diagnosis.”

On the other hand, isolation (healthcare) consists of “various measures taken to prevent contagious disease from being spread’. For example, an “isolation ward used to isolate patients suffering from infectious diseases.” Simply stated, you are placed in quarantine when one is exposed to the disease; one is placed in isolation when one is suffering from the disease, you are put in a place by yourself, either may be voluntary or forced, and the location may be home or in a select facility by the government.

Additionally, the more I think about the behaviour of COVID-19, what comes to my mind is that a dictator is on the loose. A dictator is an “absolute authority in any sphere.” It is what dictates that is leading to the bold steps which are being taken worldwide. From the daily briefings and the international media, we are seeing how the governments are tackling the pandemic, but the results are mixed as the ‘Dictator’ directs otherwise. How then do we fathom what happened in the enclave – BPO in Portmore – which led to the lockdown of the parish of St Catherine, with ripple effects for neighbouring parishes, and, indeed, the entire country.

Those who are calling for the lockdown of Kingston and St Andrew must come to the realisation that it is in partial lockdown: This is evidenced by the fact that a large percentage of the workforce resides in St Catherine. This is a wake-up call to know where your worker lives (KWYWL). Human resources, take note that workers residing in St Catherine not only work in Kingston and St Andrew, but also Clarendon, Manchester, St Ann, and perhaps other parishes. Housing schemes and new highways have made the entire country a village where we work, sleep, play and educate our children.

The dictator can be a force for good and positive change, but it is up to us how we respond individually and collectively. Realising that a dictator has absolute authority in any sphere, it therefore drives our thinking – and to call it by its name, COVID-19 – directs the pre-pandemic, pandemic and post-pandemic actions on our businesses, people and processes. We are directed to park the textbooks on management (pre-2019) and dust off those on organisational behaviour. The dictator says pull out the strategic action plans, revenue projections, business continuity plans, marketing plans, contractual agreements, research & development, more specifically, HR policies and job descriptions and, of course, public policy which informs economic initiatives. With all of these, it is at the level of work, workforce and workplace that the brutal dictator is being fought off, so these bear looking at individually in response to the dictates of COVID-19.


This is an activity that a person engages in regularly to earn a livelihood. It comprises a specific task, duty, function or assignment, usually part of a larger activity, to sustain a business. It impacts on the mental and physical functions as we strive for results. Work emanates from industry-specific activities comprising products and services with established norms. However, the dictator has disrupted the norms; hence, work as we know it is has already begun to unravel. And so the argument on the future of work, long argued that the future is now, is validated by the upheaval caused by COVID-19. Business closures, scale back, shift in activities, and some projects placed on hold indefinitely is the present reality, hence the need to revise strategies and work orders to remain relevant during and after COVID-19.


The people, yes, the people, are front and centre to give effect to work. The workforce “is the workers engaged in a specific activity or enterprise. It is the total number of people in a country or region who are physically able to do a job and are available for work” ( Collins Dictionary). As I mentioned previously, it is the workforce which is facing off to mitigate and control the dictator – COVID-19. We are navigating in uncertain times, and business purpose and profit aside, privileges and pay cheques are in play. This is a stark reminder as lockdowns and curfews are enforced as part of the means to mitigate and control the dictator.

Respect for the workforce was heightened with quarantine of communities and, more specifically, the lockdown of St Catherine as a hot spot for the virus. St Catherine sneezed, and businesses in the private sector and public services caught pneumonia, particularly in Kingston and St Andrew. If indeed people fled, I dare say it was with their privileges and pay cheques in mind. The economic vulnerability was on full display – business places were left without their workforce. I am always fascinated when businesses tout that their most important asset is their workforce (I have a cadre of over 2,000), which goes through the gate at the end of each shift with no guarantee that it will return next day. The dictator has sent a clear message, BPOs and other important business are without their workforce. When we look further afield, the workforce is not only impacted by lockdowns and curfews, but by sickness and death.

The dictator is demonstrating its absolute authority worldwide. When taken together, work and workforce, which underpin the economy, are commanding new respect and appreciation for work arrangements and the people who make work happen.


“A workplace is a location where work is done for an employer – a place of employment.” Such a place can range from home, office building, factory or somewhere temporarily contracted to meet a need. Other than home, the workplace also provides a social space, a place for good, but can be confusing and overwhelming with biases, gender and discrimination issues requiring intervention. It also provides opportunities for professional growth and development. The development of new communication technologies has already changed the face of the workplace, leading to virtual workplace on a device – computer, tablet or smartphone. The workplace is also fraught with issues which go beyond legal and regulatory constructs, some of which have long being outmoded.

The dictator, COVID-19, has imposed rapid changes which saw businesses scrambling overnight to acquire devices to enable work to be done in spaces other than the well-entrenched brick-and-mortar spaces. While due consideration for alternate workplaces was under way – mostly experimenting with work from home – the BPO incident heightened the urgency brought on by lockdowns, curfew and quarantine. For employees to work from home comes with issues yet to be confronted.

A few companies which started experimenting with employees working from home, hopefully, can evaluate and develop effective and long-term work-from-home policies. The dictator-induced rapid response to new workplace arrangements will also serve to enhance policies for workplace re-definition. Of course, there will always be workplace exceptions, as there are businesses which require fixed spaces, such as manufacturing, mining, agriculture, aspects of BPOs and telecommunication, public utilities, retail trade, sanitation, supply chain management, among others.

The common thread running among workplaces of any type is cleaning and sanitation, which are integral to the mitigation and control of COVID-19. Hence, the type of work, the workforce and workplace relating to the latter, without doubt must be classified as essential service. Each subject is fraught with issues which will be developed into future articles on handling the dictator.

People power rules in bringing down dictators. There is no overnight fix, but the exercise of perseverance and sensible polices, matched by resources, sensitivity and incentives. The nightly news is unfortunately revealing aspects of ‘us and dem’, uptown versus downtown, urban vs rural, and even discrimination.

This is unacceptable as we, for the most part, know that COVID-19 does not respect boundaries, nor ideologies, local and international. It cannot be negotiated with, it has no cure, it has no respect for age nor wealth, it has no conscience. The world will never be the same as the dictator prevails. Among the measures for disrupting the ruthless impact are updating and putting in place laws and policies that should have been in place all along. Case in point is the OSHA that has been languishing for years. The outmoded Factories Act which seek to govern workplaces pales in the face of the dictator.

The future of work arrangements which is now in play make labour laws near-useless. There are lessons to be learnt here. Life is nearly never how we planned it, for example, just as the economy was on the up and up, here comes the dictator. Who knew that going to the IMF was on the radar? Who knew dengue would be upstaged by COVID-19? Who knew lockdowns and curfews would put us under manners? But things have a way of working out in the end, we will endure and will come out after COVID-19 ‘stronger together.’ We will, and we must.

Audrey Hinchcliffe is the CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group. Send feedback to ceo@manpowerja.com or columns@gleanerjm.com.

Source: The Gleaner Company Media Limited

The State Of The Commercial Cleaning Industry: Response To COVID-19 [Part 3]

Contributed: The commercial cleaning industry is not for the faint of heart and this is validated by the demand of COVID-19

At the end of writing Part 2 of the series on the commercial cleaning industry, I had planned to write a Part 3 to explore the state of the industry. However, events have rapidly overtaken my plan, with the explosion of the spread of COVID-19 among workers at a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre.

This unfortunate occurrence has exposed the grim underbelly of cleaning and sanitation which falls under commercial cleaning. I have been in the business going on 30 years (May 4, 2020), and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly side of cleaning and sanitation observed when touring locations to gather information as the basis for bidding. I can state categorically that clients are mostly insistent on a clean and sanitary working environment for their clients to do business. Their scope of works are usually detailed, inputs clearly stated along with cleaning times – daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc.

In particular, tender documents published by Government entities leave nothing to the imagination, as it is all laid out, including standards for the required services. Private sector companies locally and internationally have significantly improved their requirements for standards over the years.

Some companies screen contractors via prequalification exercise and hold pre-tender meeting. It is not unusual for a tender process to range from 90 days to 120 days and beyond. It means that commercial cleaning contractors have to exercise stamina and endurance and we do during normal times.

The industry has responded well to outbreaks and threats of outbreaks in the past, including H1N1, Zika, Ebola, and more recently in Jamaica, Dengue. However, the new coronavirus is in a class by itself.

In a previous article, I stated the four legs which underpin infection control. They are cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and hygiene. I have been listening very keenly to the woes at the BPO centre where the infection exploded. This resulted in the locking down of an entire parish, St Catherine, which is the home base of a major BPO, followed by other spread across the municipality of Portmore and deep reaches into Kingston and St Andrew. Therefore, it is sad to predict, but it will only be a matter of time when the effects of what started in Portmore will reverberate throughout the BPO industry, as workers traverse companies in search of employment opportunities.

Having said that, let me return to the subject at hand – the state of the commercial cleaning industry: Response to COVID-19. In Part 2 of my article titled ‘The Commercial Cleaning Industry: Turning Off The Lights During COVID-19’, I spoke of Standards For Best Practices And Service Delivery. I went on to say, regarding standards for best practices, “what does it really mean and who is it for? I stated it is the best way to do something. That is the method or technique which consistently shows superior results better than if done any other way. It is the benchmark against which service is judged. It should become automatically the standard by which services are provided, when applied to the cleaning service industry – the services must, therefore, be systematic, consistent and professional.”

My writings are not designed to cast aspersions nor denigrate the state of the industry, but to highlight the actual role it should and must play at this time like no other. It is the preferred meaning of standards for best practices and service delivery to be applied to determine its applicability to the situation at hand at the affected BPO centre, and indeed all others.


During the past 30 years, I have witnessed the ups and downs in the industry, both by association, encounter and research to educate and inform the operation of MMS Ltd and our valued clients and employees. What is clear is that there is no data on the local industry from which to determine any trend in the current statistics, growth and contribution to the economy. What may be known is price-based competition learned from published results of bidding, and this is garnered from state agencies.

On the surface, the commercial cleaning industry primary drivers are a few established companies and a few emerging ones. My point of reference is the yellow pages and the Internet. Some have prominent addresses and advertisements and websites, others not so much. One can test by calling the published phone numbers and some will go unanswered; either they have exited or are emerging to enter. Others have explosive launch, advertorial and articles, then they go silent.

The commercial cleaning industry is not for the faint of heart and this is validated by the demand of COVID-19 which hit just as there was the beginning of upswing in the economy evidenced by the growth of the BPOs, among others. Included were multiple construction of housing and commercial sites requiring post construction cleaning, outsourcing of janitorial and related services by education, health, entertainment, points of entry, telecommunication, among others. Larger clients were increasingly preferring to bundle their needs, for example, property management, security, washroom supplies, pest control, grounds and landscape services under a single contract.

More recently, there were attempts to introduce a consortium of companies to drive the bidding process. The latter is to be tested, as it requires companies with robust infrastructure and the three Ps – people, process and pricing. This trend is welcomed, as facilities management and building service companies will have to step up in the competition.

The trend needs to be checked along the following areas:

  •  Customer service – efficiency and quality
  • Responsiveness – how nimble to respond to crisis, for example, COVID-19 and the four legs – cleaning, disinfecting, sanitising and hygiene.
  •  Investment to underpin process – technology to include software for accounting, payroll, HR, billing, among others.
  • Customer base – finding the right customer and match their service requirements, knowing “you cannot be all things to all men”.
  • People – finding, training, and equipping employees.
  • Competition – quality of service. Even in the face of low bidding quality matters.

I am imploring the relevant agency(s) to gather statistics on:

  • Market size
  • Number of legitimate businesses
  • Industry employment – workforce
  • Average size of the business by revenue and resources
  • Areas of industry activities

a). Commercial

b). Residential

c). Other

Market research is also required to determine the industry as a whole, its performance and contribution to the economy, products and services, competition, and operating condition.

COVID-19 may be a blessing in disguise as a jump-off point to formalise the industry once and for all.

M. Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe, CD, JP, MSc, BA, is chief executive officer and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Group Limited. Email comments to ceo@manpowerja.com or columns@gleanerjm.com.

Source: The Gleaner Company Media Limited

Audrey Hinchcliffe | The Commercial Cleaning Industry: Turning Off The Lights During COVID-19

Yolande Sealy-Kerr, manager of the Spanish Town branch of Manpower and Maintenance Services Group Ltd, demonstrates how to properly remove protective gear during a coronavirus prevention workshop at Spanish Court Hotel on Thursday, March 5.

Published:Thursday | April 16, 2020 | 12:18 AM

COVID-19 HAS turned the spotlight on cleaning, disinfecting and sanitisation by an industry of which little is known in Jamaica. The cleaning industry can be roughly divided into commercial janitorial and related services, residential cleaning, and specialised cleaning. The industry is so undefined that it is not unusual to find in the mix laundry, gardening, waste disposal, washroom supplies; and even security, labour management and pest control.

Hence, where two or more services are incorporated under one contractual agreement, it is referred to as ‘bundling of services’. The most common bundling of services include cleaning (janitorial or custodial), portering, waste removal, and washroom supplies. For COVID-19, a bundle specifically includes cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising a variety of surfaces. Regardless of which services constitute a bundle of services, one must be mindful of the legal and regulatory framework which governs each service and the entity which has responsibility for the regulations. For example, cleaning and sanitising – Ministry of Health; labour management – Ministry of Labour; washroom supplies – MICAF; pest control – Pesticides Control Authority; gardening and landscape – Ministry of Agriculture; chemical cleaning and disinfecting agents – Ministry of Health. It is not unusual that with the scope of work prepared by clients, industry players may have to modify these for effect and safety of the workers and occupants of buildings, and the environment.

When the commercial cleaning industry is placed in the context as part of the economy – and a major part at that – if one looks at the contribution to employment, there is no central point of regulation for data collection and to attend to issues in the industry. Hence, the industry is obscure, except in times of outbreak of communicable diseases, when cleaning and sanitation are integral, and even so it remains largely under the radar.

However, if there is ever an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the commercial cleaning industry who turns off the lights. The industry players move in when the occupants depart, and like elves, are nowhere in sight when they return to a clean and environmentally pleasing surrounding.

The only commonality among businesses in the industry is those who are operating above ground, having been registered with the Companies Office of Jamaica. However, it is not so unusual to face competition from companies operating underground, because areas in the industry which require registration, licenses and certification are for the purpose of bidding for government services. This is facilitated by the openness of entry and exiting the industry. As a consequence, imitation flourishes as there is no one point for controls; unfair competition is unwittingly allowed to dictate prices, but not standards for services.


What does this really mean, and who is it for? It is the best way to do something. That is, the method or technique which consistently shows superior results better than if done any other way? It is the benchmark against which the service is judged. It should become, automatically, the standard by which services are provided. When applied to the cleaning service – industry-specific – the services must therefore be systematic, consistent and professional.

This is the standard of service clients should come to expect from their service provider. But how is this to be achieved? I submit, it starts with the 4Ps – people, process, products and pricing. Set out below are elements of each.

PEOPLE: It is people who make things happen. Therefore, it starts from the hiring process: screening applicants to find the best fit for the job. Janitorial or custodial service is not ‘sexy’; hence it does not attract the youngest, brightest and the best candidates in a low-wage industry, which is mostly contract work, and rapid staff turnover.

In this regard, one must aim to hire based on literacy (usually low-level), aptitude and trainability. The latter is key and borders on conditioning by visual and repetitive training methods. Training is essential for retention, as high turnover affects service quality and the bottom line.

PROCESS: This must be documented in accordance with the scope of works agreed with the client. Scope of work is wide and varied to match the business type, the building type and size, the usage, and the daily pass through. This is the background against which, among others, the process for service delivery is established; for example, schedules for service. Process forms a large part of training and honing the skills of the workers, including managers, supervisors and front-line workers. Communication and customer service are the glue that keeps the service delivery process together.

PRODUCTS: The scope of work establishes the basis for inputs for service delivery; hence, the products required for cleaning and maintenance. Products range from chemical cleaning and disinfecting agents; supplies such as mop, brooms, gloves, mask, cleaning cloth, garbage bags, PPE, washroom supplies; and equipment such as vacuum cleaners, floor scrubbers, buckets, carpet machine and paraphernalia; and specialised equipment and tools as the jobs dictate, which may even include supplies for waste disposal.

From the foregoing, it is clear that a robust supply chain management system needs to be in place, as products must be readily available in the event of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. The outbreak of COVID-19 is a case in point.

PRICING: When taken together, people, process and products establish the basis for pricing. While clients may operate on least cost, quality must be borne in mind in order to avoid ‘getting what you pay for’. This is not in the best interest of the client nor the commercial cleaning contractor, as reputational damage has lasting effects. Pricing methods (for profit) must be well thought through to be able to acquire labour and material to support the desired cleaning standards.

It is interesting to note that although the industry in Jamaica is fragmented, in the distant past, efforts were made to form the Jamaican Association of Commercial Cleaning Contractors. During its short life, much was accomplished when a small group of interested players worked with the HEART/ NTA/NCTVET and produced a draft for training janitors for the local industry. Unfortunately, this effort died a natural death. However, elements for training janitors were picked up by an interested few.

It therefore gives hope that from the right leadership base in the industry and the work already done, when revived, will set the stage for the industry to be formalised.

M. Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe, CD, JP, MSc, BA, is chief executive officer and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Group Limited. Email comments to ceo@manpowerja.com or columns@gleanerjm.com.

Source: The Gleaner Company Media Limited


M. Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe | Times Like No Other: The New Decade And The Coronavirus (Part 1)

Published:Wednesday | April 15, 2020 | 12:25 AM

At midnight December 31, 2019, I woke up to face the start of the new decade. The year 2020 had arrived, as we said goodbye to ‘teens’.

Except for a person, the country and the world now ceased to be ‘teens’; we had grown beyond our years, milestone by milestone, through previous decades.

I thought life is good. The country and the world could be better, though the economy was sluggish, social and political constructs were intertwined and could benefit from separation and repairs, respectively. The poor and the destitute have become the vehicle for advancement of politics and politricks. In return, “if you don’t have bread, give them cake”.

This is the backdrop for the entrance of SARS COV-2 that emerged in the city of Wuhan, China, which was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) on December 31 of 2019, now commonly known as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19.

This, too, ushered in the year 2020, as the virus started spreading like the proverbial wildfire, with the second wave hitting Asia and now grabbing worldwide attention as a pandemic. It went on to erupt in Australia, Europe and the Middle East. The Caribbean expected it was only a matter of time, so it was no surprise when it arrived on our shores early this month – imported, of course, from outside the region.

On the date of writing, Jamaica had confirmed its 73rd coronavirus case. The Government of Jamaica, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in a timely manner, has sought to educate the public through press conferences, town halls and all forms of media. The private sector’s response is a take-off from the Government’s efforts, with the PAHO/WHO policies and procedures as its foundation.


The role of the commercial cleaning industry:

“Get more than clean – get hygiene” (MMS tag line)

This should be the mantra for COVID-19.

The moment the viral infection is mentioned, hygiene should be the first order of business, effected through cleaning, sanitising, disinfecting and training. These are the underpinnings of disease control and prevention. They are not synonymous, as some would believe; they are distinct functions as set out below, quoting from the CDC definitions:

– CLEANING is the removal of germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

– DISINFECTING refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs on the surfaces after cleaning; it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

– On the other hand, there is SANITISING, which is the process of applying a substance or fluid designed to kill germs on skin or objects.

This is the underpinning of the explosion of products, in particular hand sanitiser.

And what of the much-touted hygiene?

– HYGIENE, according to the WHO, “refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases”.

COVID-19 control and prevention rest on these four legs – cleaning, disinfecting, sanitising and hygiene.

The role of the commercial cleaning industry is the underpinning for the four legs stated above. In this regard, the industry must ramp up to fight COVID-19, as businesses and property owners take precautions against the spread of the virus; hence, companies which are contracted to provide janitorial and related services have an obligation to be prepared to deliver the services to meet the standards set by local and international bodies for the control and prevention of COVID-19. But is the industry ready to meet the demands of the four legs stated above?

It is no secret that the local industry is unregulated, fragmented and perhaps unprepared to deal with a surge in demand. Already, from where I sit, the demand for enhanced cleaning is already surging. This is the time for companies to prove their capability in biohazard remediation. It may be too late for training and the acquisition of specialised chemical cleaning agents, equipment and machinery and trained personnel to treat and operate them safely and efficiently.

After all, the outbreak of the coronavirus may be a blessing in disguise, in some ways, to drive the actions needed to formalise the industry once and for all, after many years of seeking for it to be such.

In the meantime, companies are eager to clean their workplaces and to reassure workers and their clients that they are doing their part to combat the coronavirus. Now that the virus has reached pandemic status, it behoves owners of commercial cleaning companies and their staff to take the situation extremely seriously as the control and prevention of COVID-19, to a large extent, rest in our hands. In this regard, we must sharpen our knowledge and skills by training and retraining for new and enhanced methods of service delivery, with new and improved cleaning material, new tools and equipment, and to determine the requirements not only of industry-specific clients, but for the surfaces, whether hard or porus, whether it is common areas or closed areas, pools or fitness rooms. If necessary, we must bring in specialists where indicated.


The fact is there is still a lot of unknown knowledge about the virus, and especially its transmission, but according to the CDC, evidence suggests that the virus can remain viable on various surface types perhaps for a few days. Hence, every cleaning may require difference in details. It means, therefore, that the essential process rests on three factors:

1. Properly trained personnel.

2. Chemicals to be applied to surface types.

3. The equipment used to apply them.

Commercial cleaning contractors must exhibit their capability to deliver services along the lines stated above at a minimum, in addition to adopting the procedures set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness; PAHO/WHO, CDC or OSHA.

Businesses must cooperate fully by disclosing if it has confirmed or suspected cases of persons in quarantine so that the appropriate precautions can be taken, and procedures followed to give effect to control and prevention of infections regardless of cause.

There will be life after COVID-19. We must band together for the fight; we are going to get through this, and lessons learned will make ourselves and businesses stronger.

M. Audrey Stewart-Hinchcliffe, CD, JP, MSc, BA, is CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group. Email feedback to: ceo@manpowerja.com and columns@gleanerjm.com.


Source: The Gleaner Company Media Limited


Manpower & Maintenance Services (MMS) Limited Group Helps Fight COVID -19

May 5, 2020                                                                                             For Immediate Release

Manpower & Maintenance Services (MMS) Limited Group Helps Fight COVID -19

Manpower and Maintenance Services (MMS) Limited Foundation has joined the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) by donating JMD$ 250,000.00 to the Jamaica “Together We Stand Telethon” to aid in the fight against the pandemic. The donation was made to help with the purchasing of personal protective equipment and supplies for the protection of those working on the frontline against COVID-19 and the strengthening of health systems.

each have an essential role to play during this COVID-19 crisis”, said Mrs. Audrey Hinchcliffe, Chief Executive Officer of MMS. “On April 12, the MMS Limited Foundation pledged JMD $250,000 to help in the purchasing of health supplies for our health care professionals, and today the MMS Limited Group handed over, 2000 N95 masks to the National Health Fund so that they can distribute them, as they deem appropriate, to reach those that need it the most, our nurses and doctors who are working tirelessly on the frontline against this pandemic”.

MMS has always taken a proactive approach when there is a threat to the country’s healthcare system. And it is MMS involvement in the COVID -19 fight that prompts the contributions. Known for its underpinning in cleaning and sanitation, Mrs. Hinchcliffe also shared that the company’s cleaning and sanitation workers are also working on the frontline against COVID-19 and they too require personal protective equipment and supplies as well. In this regard, MMS has them trained and equipped as they work in our hospitals, Business Processing Outsourcing companies (BPO’s), shopping malls, points of entry, education and business entities among others.

MMS continues to be on the frontline, working assiduously to implement steps for the control and mitigation of diseases. In March of this year, the company hosted workshops and sensitization sessions on the coronavirus to educate on symptoms of the virus, transmission, prevention and treatment and minimizing risk at home and in the workplace. The company also donated 200 N95 masks to the Spanish Town Hospital.

ManPower Fêtes 32 Students

Source: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20190906/manpower-fetes-32-students

Photo by: Aston Spaulding

Published:Friday | September 6, 2019 | 12:08 AM

In keeping with its annual tradition, Manpower and Maintenance Services Limited (MMS) recognised 32 students, children of employees, who will be entering high school for the first time by providing them with school supplies.

Having completed the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations earlier this year, the students led by top achievers Alicia Adamson, daughter of Brian Adamson, who is heading to Wolmer’s High School for Girl’s and new entrant to Calabar High school Javian McLeod whose guardian is Marva Fowles, were feted in a ceremony at the company’s Eureka Road headquarters recently.

A flagship programme of the Manpower Foundation which was ­established as a community outreach initiative, especially in education, the Back to School Awards, formerly the GSAT Awards, now in its 20th year, is eagerly anticipated by both parents and students who welcome the assistance with their back to school preparation each new school year.

Speaking at the recognition function, deputy chief executive officer of MMS, Garth Hinchcliffe, congratulated the ­students and encouraged them to make the best of the years they will spend in high school. “Take this opportunity that a high school education provides to fulfil your given potential. This is your chance to lay a good foundation for the rest of your lives,” Hinchcliffe said.

Also addressing the students, pastor and motivational speaker Janet Allen, urged the students to, put some PEP in your steps. “Now that you have been placed in high schools through PEP, you should remember that this is not a destination, but an entry point to a wider world of possibilities,” Allen said.

The students who will be attending a number of other schools including, St Andrew High, Queens High, and St Jago High School, received bursaries from the Manpower Foundation, along with gift certificates to start their own accounts from JN Bank and First Heritage Cooperative Credit Union, as well as supplies and other tokens from Lasco, Guardian Group, FLOW, Grace Foods, Nestlé and Hi-Lo.

Audrey Hinchcliffe, founder and CEO of Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited.

Hinchcliffe Weighs Successor For Manpower Amid Growth Push

Audrey Hinchcliffe has created a new division at her firm Manpower & Maintenance Services Limited to handle the cleaning jobs flowing in from the business process outsourcing, or BPO, sector.

She has also hired a manager to oversee that arm of the operation, which currently serves five companies, one of which operates from 11 locations.

It’s all part of the company’s growth initiative amid Hinchcliffe’s determination to scale her business even as she makes plans for a successor after 27 years at the helm as CEO.

Hinchcliffe and her son currently run the business, but the family wants to devise a plan that is in the best interest of the firm, amid plans to eventually take the company public and list on the stock market.

By the end of 2018, Manpower would have invested $35 million as it positions to double its BPO client base to 10 companies, according to Hinchcliffe.

“We have someone hired to be the BPO manager and to drive business in the area,” she told the Financial Gleaner in an interview this week.

The BPO sector, at last report, had 53 registered companies and accounted for more than 26,000 jobs. While companies span several urban centres, Montego Bay is still the most popular locale for operators even as others such as Portmore and Kingston are ascending.


To meet the need of clients in the sector, Manpower relocated from East Street at the centre of the city of Montego Bay to the Sagicor Freeport Commercial Centre, which sits close to BPO businesses operating from within and in proximity to the Montego Bay Free Zone.

In Kingston, where Manpower’s own headquarters is based, the company has added warehouse space at a different locale – leased premises at Brentford Road.

Hinchcliffe said her company is eyeing Kingston as a source of new BPO cleaning contracts as the sector was also rapidly expanding in the capital.

The cleaning and training operations linked to the BPO contracts now deliver around nine per cent of revenue for Manpower, whose turnover is just under $1 billion annually. Hinchcliffe adds that the BPO segment is also employing growing numbers of Manpower’s 1,800 contracted workforce.

Manpower cleans more than 250 locations nationwide, on behalf of around 200 clients, and that business brings in 80 per cent of revenue.”

“It is still the bedrock of the business,” Hinchcliffe said.

Human resources and placements brings in 15 per cent of revenues, she added. The BPO share of revenue straddles some of the contribution from the cleaning jobs and training services.

Hinchcliffe said the company has bounced back from a period six years ago when some contracted companies closed their accounts. In 2011, Manpower employed a staff of 1,400 for clients that included commercial companies, hotels, hospitals, the wharves and airports. Facilities maintenance, including washroom supplies continues to grow at a rapid pace – 12 per cent overall in 2017 – especially with new construction and business expansion, she said.

Training BPO workers

Now the company is bigger, and is itself venturing into direct training of call centre workers under contract with HEART Trust/NTA. The first cohort of 60 workers completed the three-week or 120-hour course, and another 60 are soon to enter training.

“We are training BPO workers at entry level. HEART is subcontracting the training to several agencies of which our company, IWED, is one as an accredited training organisation under NCTVET. We have the full training facility, including computer labs, required,” Hinchcliffe said.

IWED, the Institute for Workforce Placement and Education, is planning to add another component to the programme – ‘upskilling’ or training of existing workers for management roles. The company is also training janitors under an initiative with the Ministry of Education.

Manpower has found other new ways to make money, by providing seasonal labour through its special services division to large operations, as well as laundry services and procurement of supplies for a small number of clients. Manpower contracted around 100 cashiers and packers during the Christmas season to companies, including PriceSmart, said the CEO and company founder.

No offshore expansion

Hinchcliffe established Manpower in 1990, and while the company has expanded over time, it has not expanded offshore into other markets. The group includes subsidiaries Manpower & Maintenance Placement Agency Limited, the Institute for Workforce Placement and Education, or IWED, Manpower & Maintenance Special Services Limited, and Manpower & Maintenance Services Foundation. The BPO and human resources outsourcing segment falls under Manpower & Maintenance Special Services.

“We have copyrighted ourselves here and in a few other islands, but we are not operating overseas yet,” Hinchcliffe said.

The company still sees scope for growth within Jamaica, and is eyeing opportunities in Montego Bay, Portmore, Half-Way Tree and downtown Kingston, New Kingston, and the University of the West Indies. It is also watching developments in Mandeville.

Last year, Manpower restructured its operations under five main pillars facilities and maintenance; BPO; human resources outsourcing; training and development; and business and consumer solutions each of which is managed by a divisional director to ensure “cohesive management”.

Hinchcliffe, who turned 78 in January, still aims to list her company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, when the time is right, but is focusing on growth projects for now as well as quality improvements to eventually become ISO-compliant. A consultant was also hired to revamp Manpower’s finances.

Succession, however, is on her mind and the Hinchcliffe family is in the process of devising a succession plan.

“We have considered the matter of a co-CEO – for someone else to come in and learn the business,” she said. “We have someone in-house working with us and looking at what would be the best fit for management towards the time I take my exit.”

Hinchcliffe said she would likely remain as chairman when a new CEO takes her seat.

Asked why her son, Garth Hinchcliffe, who is deputy CEO with responsibility for new business development and finance, was not the automatic choice, Hinchcliffe said the company did not want to fall into the trap that has befallen other family-run operations – which are “self-limiting” by their nature – and wanted to plot out the best course for the business.

“It does not mean he is not the best choice …,” she said. “The planning is internal, but we are researching the best solution. The business is very complex,” she added.


Source: Gleaner